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March 25, 2013

Trading Clamps Spur Lobby Effort

High-speed trading firms and exchanges are being forced into the lobbying game by taxes on trades in Europe, proposals for similar levies in the U.S. and beefed-up regulatory scrutiny.

While still far less conspicuous than big banks and their legions of arm-twisters, executives and lobbyists for trading firms and exchanges have stepped up their behind-the-scenes efforts to avert specific rules and legislation, say staff members in Congress and agencies.

That follows a steep increase in registered lobbying by high-speed trading firms. Such spending averaged $2.3 million in 2011 and 2012, more than double the average from 2008 to 2010, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of data compiled by OpenSecrets.org, part of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Shadows looming over the high-speed trading industry include a bill proposed last month by Sens. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) and Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) aimed at imposing a three-cent tax on every $100 transaction in stocks, bonds and other assets. Such a tax likely would eat into profits.”

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here

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